The brain - the gray matter that dictates our thoughts, emotions and movements. We all know how important an organ it is and how well we need to look after its health. It's no accident that our skull is so thick in some places, providing extra protection for our fragile brain.
In addition to the thick bone wall that serves as its protection, the brain needs nutrients that directly impact its health. In large part, the state of our brain determines our overall health condition. This means that following a balanced diet in which we include enough brain-healthy foods is of utmost importance.
In this article, we're going to take a look at 10 not only healthy, but also extremely delicious foods, drinks and spices that will give your brain what it needs. In other words - food for thought!
Before we get to the tasty, meaty part, we’d like to share some fun facts about the brain. Although the brain is constantly being studied and experimented on, there are many odd things about it that scientists and doctors still can't explain. So we wouldn't be surprised if you are also unaware of some of your brain's amazing qualities!
5 fun facts about the brain:
- The human brain is mostly made up of water. In fact, 75% of its content is water. For this reason, dehydration can seriously impair brain functions and lead to a number of complications. Remember to keep yourself well hydrated!
- According to some studies, video games can help a person improve their cognitive skills. This is especially true for older people because keeping your brain in good health becomes more important as you age!
- The claim that we only use 10% of our brain is a myth. We use 100%. In fact, even when we sleep we use much more than 10%.
- The brain does not feel pain. It receives and interprets the nerve signals that reach it, but the organ itself does not feel pain.
- The brain uses as much as 20% of the oxygen and blood in your body!
The 10 best foods to keep your brain healthy
Blueberries are a well-known superfood and are high in antioxidants. They contain flavonoids, which have been shown to improve cognitive function, especially in older adults. Also, blueberries protect the brain from oxidative stress, which can lead to neurodegeneration and memory loss.
Oily fish, such as salmon, sardines and tuna, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have a great impact on brain health. Omega-3s have been shown to improve cognitive function, memory and mood. They also help reduce the levels of inflammation in the brain caused by aging, or by mental and psychological illnesses such as depression.
Nuts and seeds
Walnuts, almonds, chia seeds and flax seeds are all great sources of healthy fats, protein and fiber. Everything our brain loves! They also contain vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant capable of protecting the brain from oxidative stress. Studies have shown that regular consumption of nuts and seeds is associated with better cognitive function and a reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
Foods such as brown rice, oats, and quinoa are great sources of complex carbohydrates, fiber and vitamins. They also contain folate, which is important for brain function and mental health. Studies have shown that regular consumption of whole grains is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline, especially in older people, as well as better cognitive abilities.
We've come to associate eggs with rich amounts of protein and healthy fats.
Berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants. They also contain flavonoids, which have been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce our risk of cognitive decline. Regular consumption of berries has been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer's.
Dark chocolate is one of the most well-known foods that has a beneficial effect on our brain. Not to mention it's also one of the tastiest! Like berries, it also contains flavonoids. It also contains a certain amount of caffeine and theobromine, which can improve mental alertness and lift our mood. However, it is important to choose dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (at least 70%) to reap all the benefits.
Turmeric is a well-known spice that has been used in traditional Asian medicine for years. Its main ingredient is called curcumin, a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin can improve memory and reduce the risk of cognitive decline. It has also been found to increase the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that is essential for brain health.
Green leafy vegetables
These are everybody's favorite spinach, kale, coleslaw and more. They are a great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and are essential for good brain health. They also contain nitrates, which improve the flow of blood to the brain and improve cognitive function. Studies have linked regular consumption of leafy greens to a reduced risk of dementia.
Lastly, coffee. For some of us, life without coffee is unthinkable. As we know, coffee's main ingredient is caffeine. It improves mental alertness, gives us energy, puts us in a productive mindset and often lifts our mood. Besides, coffee also contains antioxidants. Regular consumption of coffee in moderation leads to better cognitive function and reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
What about nutritional supplements?
Of course! In addition to including these 10 foods in your diet, you can also get the nutrients your brain needs through supplements. The important thing is to make sure you have a balanced approach and don't overdo it. Additionally, if you have allergies or intolerances to certain foods, supplements are an ideal substitute.
We advise you to include as many of the foods discussed as possible in your diet and aim to make it as varied as possible. Avoid overeating and eat in moderation, especially when it comes to coffee, dark chocolate and eggs.
And if you're wondering which supplements you can take to look after your brain, we've left a selection of our products at the end of this article! Stay healthy and remember: Make no compromise when it comes to health.